The actual meaning of "You shall be holy" is not clear. Some teach that this commands the avoiding of the illicit physical
relationships described in the previous chapter. Holiness is a product of refraining from sexual immorality. Others do not
limit the concept of holiness to any category of precepts. Rather, holiness is something that should be characteristic of
all aspects of life. On the three occasions where one is commanded to be holy (Leviticus 20:7,26) it is in the actual context
of observing Yahveh’s laws and the prohibition of idol worship. The commandment of 'being holy' does not occur in the
actual context of sexual relationships.
After being ordered to 'be holy' the Israelites were commanded:
To respect parents - a Mitzvah between Man and Man.
To observe the Sabbaths - a Mitzvah between Man and Yahveh.
Not to worship idols - a Mitzvah between Man and Yahveh.
To correctly observe the detailed Torah laws on offerings
brought to the Tabernacle/Temple - a Mitzvah between Man and Yahveh.
To leave specified produce for those in need - a Mitzvah between Man and Man.
Laws respecting the lives, property occupations, and social well-being of others - culminating in "You shall love your
neighbor as yourself." (Leviticus 19:18) These are commandments between Man and Man.
After 'You shall be holy' the text opens with a precept between Man and Man. Later on, it also ends with precepts between
Man and Man. These laws appear to promote natural justice and social well being. Why therefore are they interspersed with
injunctions against Sabbath desecration, idolatry, and unsuitable methods of offering? What have they to do with encouraging
a just and equitable social environment? Could Yahveh be saying, "You must make yourself Mine, because I have made Myself
This seems to fit into the word as used elsewhere. An offering is described as kadosh - holy - because it has been specified
entirely for the service of Yahveh through the Temple - nothing else. A person is required to respect and honor his parents:
that is an extremely important precept reflected in the Torah's placing it within the Ten Commandments. However child-parent
relationships must be within the framework of 'making oneself holy ~ Yahveh’s. The reason that parental respect and
Sabbath observance are put together here is to teach that all Israelites, parents and children, are required to 'become Yahveh's.
If a parent tells a child to break the Sabbath, he should not obey. One must respect one's parents, but strictly within the
parameters of the Torah.
The laws of the offerings are only enforceable with the faith that Yahveh sees everything ~ that He can distinguish between
correct and incorrect deeds and thoughts (Leviticus 19:6-7) This gives a new perspective on human relationships. A person
has to understand, 'As I belong to Yahveh, so does the other person belong to Him.' He is not just 'another person' but a
person with genuine needs which must be cared for, as reflected in the laws requiring specified produce to be left for
those in need. The poor and destitute may indeed look poor and destitute, but accepting the teachings of the Almighty include
accepting That Yahveh created Man in His image (Genesis 9:5) - even those who look down-and-out and disreputable. Knowing
this, the prohibitions of causing harm to someone without his knowledge follow on naturally, even in areas where 'he will
not be found out'.